Doha, Qatar: Simone Biles, the greatest female gymnast ever, is heading home to USA with a fistful of gold medals. The American star won the floor exercise at the 48th Artistic Gymnastics World Championships on Saturday and added a bronze on balance beam to wrap up a remarkable meet in which she competed while battling a kidney stone.
The Olympic champion won six medals in all at the Aspire Dome, including gold in the team final, the all-around and the vault to go with the bronze on beam as well as a silver on uneven bars.
Her astonishing week’s work means she now has a record — female or male — 14 world championship gold medals.
She also equalled Svetlana Khorkina’s all-time high for a female gymnast of 20 world championships medals.
And with two more podium finishes on Saturday, Biles became the first gymnast since the Soviet Yelena Shushunova in 1987 to win a medal in every single event at a world championships.
Her six-for-six in Doha was also the first time an American had gained a medal in every event.
Add all this to the fact that this was her comeback to international competition, she suffered all week from a kidney stone, and revealed this year she was a victim of Larry Nassar, the former team doctor convicted on sexual assault charges, makes her performances and medals all the more remarkable.
Doha was also her first international competition since winning four golds at the Rio Olympics.
Biles took her final gold of the week with a floor routine which saw her marked a clear point ahead of the competition, despite penalty points for stepping out of bounds.
Compatriot Morgan Hurd took silver and Japan’s Mai Murakami bronze.
Earlier, Biles came third behind two teenagers, China’s Liu Tingting and Canada’s Ana Padurariu in an error-strewn beam competition.
In the men’s events there were more medals for the male star of the week, Russia’s Artur Dalaloyan.
He took silver in the vault, behind North Korea’s Ri Se-gwang. The 33-year-old was the oldest competitor in the final.
Kenzo Shirai of Japan took bronze.
Then the Russian took bronze in the men’s parallel bars behind winner, China’s Zou Jingyuan and Ukraine’s Oleg Verniaiev.
Dalaloyan, 22, ended the week with five medals, two gold, two silver as well his final bronze, in his first world championships.
Possibly the most thrilling competition of the week was left until last with high bar specialist Epke Zonderland taking gold for the Netherlands.
Injured Japanese idol, Kohei Uchimara took silver in his only individual event of the week, his 20th world championship medal.
And there was finally a medal — bronze — for America’s luckless Sam Mikulak, who had finished fourth in three events this week.
Simone Biles Is 1st Woman To Win 4 All-around World Titles
Doha, Qatar: Simone Biles won a fourth all-around title at the 48th Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Doha, Qatar, the first female gymnast to do so.
Simone Biles has proven so many times that she’s the greatest female gymnast who ever lived that it now seems she’s coming up with creative ways to get the message across.
At the World Championships in Doha, Qatar, one example was blowing away the field in the prelims despite a kidney stone that kept her in the ER past midnight the night before. In becoming the first woman to win four World all-around titles Thursday evening despite falls on vault and balance beam, Biles added another unforgettable chapter to her ever-growing legend.
For any other gymnast, it would be unthinkable to win World gold with even a single fall. But Biles is so good and her difficulty so high that pundits have said for years that she would dominate the best even with multiple falls. On Thursday, she proved them right.
After sitting down on her roundoff, half on, front double full off vault in the first rotation for 14.533, only the sixth best vault score of the competition, Biles stunned spectators by popping off the balance beam as well after an undercooked front flip with a half twist. Added to the mistake on vault, that fall, which resulted in a 13.233, transformed what had been billed as a rout back into an honest-to-goodness competition.
As she marked a year to the day since she began training following a post-Rio hiatus, the Olympic champion had to rely on strong performances on her once-nemesis, the uneven bars — where her 14.725 was the second highest score of the night — and floor exercise, where her 15.000 was the top score, to meet the challenge thrown down by a peloton of competitors, including teammate Morgan Hurd, Japan’s Mai Murakami, Russia’s Angelina Melnikova and Belgian surprise Nina Derwael.
Heading into her final event, even Biles wasn’t sure exactly where she stood.
“Right before I went on floor, I asked [coach] Laurent [Landi], I was like, ‘What do I need, like an 18? Is that even possible? Do I need to do a men’s routine and just add two more passes?’,” Biles joked after the competition, which despite the errors she still carried by 1.693 points, her largest margin of victory at any World Championships.
“Vault was very uncharacteristic but then beam, I haven’t been as confident at this World Championships on beam as I have been in past competitions,” she added. “It (vault) shook me up a little bit, but I tried not to get off track and tried to focus on the three events that I had left. I had to go out there and put on a good performance for myself.”
Avenging a fourth-place finish from 2017, Murakami turned in four excellent routines to become the first Japanese woman to make a world all-around podium since 2009. Hurd, the World champion from 2017, had to grab the beam on a side aerial but came through with a fiery floor routine to claim the bronze.
“I think I was trying to be a little too perfect,” said Hurd, who still has event finals on uneven bars and floor exercise to come.
After all was said and done, Biles apologized to her fans on Twitter, writing that she “didn’t mean to give everyone a heart attack.” With four apparatus finals still to come, Biles has a unique chance to continue making history. No one has ever won every available title at a World Championships before, and no woman has medaled in all six events in 30 years. Biles is looking forward to seeing many of the same faces that pushed her Thursday in event finals.
“We have a really great group of girls,” she said. “They tried to cheer me up after beam, and I was not really having it because I know I can do much better beam sets and better events (than) tonight, but it’s definitely helpful and I’m excited to see them in finals,” Biles said.